Break Dancers (Issue 621)

In which we are urged to develop a decisive, clear specialty in our markets to draw more referrals.

I went to a family wedding Saturday night.   Second marriages for both bride and groom, each having lost spouses to illness a few years ago, so this was a very special night to celebrate. Yay for them!

After the brief, heart-felt ceremony in the golden-orangey late afternoon sun,   we moved inside for dinner and dancing. … three generations of dancers – the bride and groom, their 20 year old to 40 year old children, and their children, supported by assorted friends of bride and groom.

The DJ did a great job with song selection, appropriate for the average age of people in the room. When he played The Beatles Twist and Shout after we’d been on the dance floor about thirty minutes, my son unkindly observed this song was coming a little earlier in the evening than usual, perhaps acknowledging that many of us would want to be home and in bed by 10:30 pm.

There were younger legs, however.  Two of the grandchildren, ages six and ten, entertained the crowd at several points, he with enthusiastic if occasionally wobbly break dancing, she with an upside down back-bendy crab-like affair. When the music hit a particular rhythm and rumble, out they’d come. The crowd would separate to give them room and cheer them on.  But only for that certain music rhythm and only those moves.  After a while, we learned when to expect them.

In prospecting land, we might call this “establishing an identity” in the market.

One of the critical elements of developing a flow of business from one’s network is to establish an identity with a clear advantage relative to other providers.

For example, “Bob Briggs is the estate planning guy if you own a business.”  Or “See Mary Smith if you want a commercial mortgage on a medical building.”  Or “Pat Andretti is THE person if you want a banker who will take care of your family the old fashioned way.”

So, like my break dancing and back-breaking wedding dancers, it’s good to have a specialty – it attracts attention, recognition, appreciation… and, ultimately, recommendations.

We can ask ourselves now, and again later, and again after that:  In what situations do we want to be the ‘go to people’ for our referral networks? What is our specialty? What do we want to be known for?

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